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My Mother's Strength

      About six years ago my Mother developed a complication from her arthritis. It was an inflammation of the temporal artery. If not treated it could cause stroke, blindness, or death from stroke. The only treatment that would help her was high dose predisone, which is a steroid drug.
     The complications from the drugs seemed endless. It destroys your immune system. She would catch anything in the air. Here's a list of some of them:

Gall Bladder surgery
Huge weight gain (I could hardly recognise her as my Mother.)
High cholesterol (She ended up with 4 blockages & bypass surgery.)
Blood clots that scarred her lungs and almost killed her.
Fluid retention so bad it would seep out of her legs.
Cataracts: She became legally blind for over a year.
Colitis: She was on the verge of a colostomy when they finally got it under control.
High Blood Sugar
Shortness of breathe and on and on and on.

But what I want to tell you about are her eyes.

      The cataracts grew really fast but because of taking coumadin to prevent further blood clots they couldn't remove them. So all she could see was light and dark and some shapes.
      When she developed colitis they took her off the coumadin for awhile to prevent hemorrhaging. The Doctors felt they had a window of opportunity to remove a cataract on at least one eye while she was off the blood thinner. So they did surgery. Everyone forgot to take into consideration that her immune system was nil. They did her surgery and put her back on the coumadin. Within a week she was back in the hospital, fighting for her life, with a staph infection in the eye they had done surgery on. And she had no immune system to fight it.
      They made the decision they would have to remove her eye to save her life. But her blood was now too thin for surgery. The pain she was in made her delusional. The doctors feared the staph might spread to her brain. It was a race against the clock to get her blood thick enough for surgery. Vitamin K shots and blood transfusions were given to thicken her blood but it was slow in working. She could only have a minimal amout of pain killers because too much would interfere with the anesthesia when it came time for surgery. Eye drops and IV antibiotics were nonstop.
      But during the midst of all of this and her in and out of a delusional state from the pain she still sang praises to the Lord.

      The nurse gave her a shot at about 4:00p.m. It wasn't giving her much relief. So at about 8:00p.m. I called for the nurse to see if she could have another; they wouldn't. I cry even now remembering the pain she was in. She cried out, " Oh God, oh God, please help me." It was heart wrenching to watch her suffer so. But within minutes of her cry she was quiet and resting. The nurse said, " I guess the pain meds finally took affect." I said, "I don't think so." Mother was humming a song now. The nurse laughed and asked what she was humming. I listened closely and smiled. It was "Love Lifted Me" her favorite gospel song. My Mother rested the rest of that night without anything for pain. They came in at about 4:00 a.m. and took her to surgery. They removed her eye.

      I was concerned she might go into a state of depression about the loss of her eye. Some of the family, especially grandkids, were afraid to see Grandma without her eye. They just didn't know what to say. So I planned a wake. Everyone came to say goodbye to her eye. The nurses thought we were nuts. We all wore eye patches and brought a cake that looked like an eyeball. We made jokes about the eye she lost. It was the one that she would give us the evil eye with when we were in trouble as kids, so we were glad to see it go. She didn't need it anyway because she always could see what we were doing with the eyes in the back of her head. We all laughed and it eased the tension of almost losing her once again.
      She has been an inspiration to family and friends with how she has handled everything she has gone through. She sings God's praises every chance she gets.

But that's not quite the end of the story.

      A few days later I had to leave and drive the six hours home, leaving Mother in the hospital well on the road to recovery. My cousin would stay with her when she came home.
      About an hour into my trip, I was reflecting on all that had transpired over the past couple of weeks. It came to me that through it all I hadn't felt fear for my Mother's life. Concern, compassion, and love; but not fear. At that moment I actually heard a voice say, "Because you trusted me." I knew it was God.The voice seemed audible not just a thought. "Remember what you did." And then I remembered. When I got to the hospital I saw a Bible in the room. I opened it to Proverbs 3:5-6 and left it like that the whole time I was there.

      Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

      At that moment I was overwhelmned with love for my Lord and cried tears of praise for him most of the way home.

      When I open my heart to God's truth I've always known when the Lord is telling me something. But this was different. I've told of this experience and people look at me like I'm nuts or say "Oh?". But every now and then someone will smile and hug me, then say, "Wasn't it wonderful." And it was.

Update on my Mother

      We told them no more predisone. We'd take our chances without it. Because it was so high dose it took another year to wean her off it. She still has health problems. However, she is better now than six years ago. She tells everyone she meets she wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her Lord.
      They made her an eye and it looks so real her neighbor asked her if she could see out of it. When she goes to the doctor he always shines his light in it to check it. Then he remembers she has an artifical eye. And we all laugh.

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